The basic facts:

  • Carbon monoxide (also known by its chemical symbol, CO) is a highly poisonous gas
  • It has no colour, no smell and no taste and is often called ‘the silent killer’
  • When inhaled, it prevents blood from absorbing oxygen
  • At high levels it can kill in as little as 3 minutes, at lower levels it causes illness
  • It kills on average 6 people in Ireland every year and makes many more ill
  • It can be produced by any fuel when burned – coal, turf, oil, gas, wood
  • It doesn’t just occur at home – in fact it can be produced anywhere that fuel is being burned caravans, tents, mobile homes, boats, holiday homes, workplaces

What can help you prevent it?

Carbon Monoxide alarms are the safest and easiest way to detect if Carbon Monoxide is in your home

  • Alarms should be audible so it can be heard and wake you if it goes off in the night
  • Alarms should carry the CE mark and should comply with European Standards
  • They should have an ‘end of life’ indicator to tell you when it needs replacing
  • You should have one in every room that has a fuel-burning appliance
  • An alarm should be fitted 5m from every bedroom
  • Always follow the manufacturer instructions carefully
  • Always check your alarm regularly by pushing the test button
  • Alarms should be also fitted in Caravans, boats or any other location where fuel is burned

What if the alarm goes off?

  • Open doors and windows to ventilate the area
  • Turn off and stop using any fuel burning appliances immediately
  • Get every body in the property outside to fresh air
  • If anybody is feeling ill call the emergency services immediately
  • Call a qualified service agent to check your appliances before you re-use them


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